Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Katalin Szelényi

Second Advisor

John Saltmarsh

Third Advisor

Quito Swan


This dissertation explores how Black doctoral students navigate their educational journeys, even when faced with systems that limit their potential. The study delves into how these students tap into their unique cultural assets to confront and surmount barriers to their success. The dissertation’s primary focus lies in understanding and appreciating the cultural wealth, unique knowledge, and profound insights Black doctoral students bring to their academic pursuits. Through a qualitative study involving 12 participants, it uncovers valuable insights and fresh counter-narratives that can lend support to Black doctoral students and spur the generation of more data reflecting their successes.

One of the key outcomes of this study is the development of a novel framework for understanding success in doctoral education, named the Black Doctoral Student Asset Model (BDSAM). The BDSAM is not just an academic model but a practical guide for individuals and institutions committed to boosting success rates for Black doctoral students. From pre- enrollment and admissions, through doctoral socialization and program interactions, to advising, mentoring, and engagement leading to graduation, the BDSAM offers a comprehensive look at the journeys of Black doctoral students. In providing this holistic perspective, this research fills an existing void in the current body of literature.


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